“Bountiful Benefits”

Psalm 119:17-24 GIMEL:  “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

I am a stranger in the earth; hide not thy commandments from me.

My soul breaketh for (is crushed with) the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

Princes also did sit and speak against me; but thy servant did mediate in thy statutes. 

Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”   

The joys of serving the Lord are beyond measure, but often in the midst of persecution or a season of lack we may not also feel blessed or feel like the chosen that we are. Which is why this verse reminds us that his testimonies are our delight and they are our “counselors”, helping us and giving us direction especially in the face of our enemies who ridicule and accuse us and God wants us to focus on Him, not on their actions especially when it seems like that have it “made” in life and it appears that they just run on forever being cruel, wicked, and unkind but God tells us often in his word that he sees all of this and even though it may appear that they are somehow rewarded, in reality if they do not change this life will be only life they have because they will be condemned to an eternal hell and in that thought you will actually feel sorry for them and here is his word on how to deal with that.

Psalm 37:1-18: “Fret not (do not be concerned with) thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

For they shall soon be cut down like grass, and wither as the green herb.

TRUST IN THE LORD, and do good; so shall thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

DELIGHT THYSELF ALSO IN THE LORD; AND HE SHALL GIVE THEE THE DESIRES OF THINE HEART. 

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment (justice) as noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices (schemes) to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise (way) to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off (destroyed); but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth .

For yet a little while, and the wicked shall NOT be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plotteh against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

The Lord shall laugh at him; for he seeth that his day is coming.

The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and the needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation (conduct).

Their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. 

For the arms (forces of control) of the wicked shall be broken; but the Lord UPHOLDETH the righteous.

THE LORD KNOWETH THE DAYS OF THE UPRIGHT; AND THEIR INHERITANCE SHALL BE FOR EVER.”

 

Φλογιζω  NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

Groovin’ the Gauntlet

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Romans 8:18

The Gauntlet, the reality of the answer of the age old question, what is the meaning of life. That is the answer, not quite what you would think is it?

We are all souls with God, who is eternal, no beginning, no ending, self -existing and ever existent  until we are born to this earth.

As God told Jeremiah, first chapter- fifth verse: “BEFORE I formed thee in the BELLY, I KNEW THEE; and BEFORE thou camest forth out of the womb I SANCTIFIED (set apart) THEE, AND I ORDAINED (appointed)THEE A PROPHET UNTO NATIONS.

As with the names that were written BEFORE the earth was formed. Our souls just as they are eternal, were with Him until time for whatever the reason, to be born onto the gauntlet field of this world.

1st Ephesians 1:4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE the FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

So we are born, hit the ground and IT IS ON.

 The gauntlet is formed against us BEFORE we can even hit the ground running, because the enemy knows more about you than you do!

The gauntlet of the “tares”, the weeds the devil planted among the children, on one side and facing you on the other side the demonic forces of hell, so you start your run between the tongue wagging finger pointers running themselves, trying to set those stumbling blocks before you, every imaginable scheme will be hatched for their use as a weapon against you, just trying to knock you down with everything they’ve got.

So you are running as fast as you can trying to keep one eye on the course in front of you and one eye on the weapons coming after you but then you see on the other side of your course the demonic forces armed and ready with snares and traps set every step of the way and many, many archers with their bows poised and the fiery darts ready to rain down, the farther you make it the more they are gonna hit from both sides, the “holier than thous” just dying to see you fall so they can tell all their buddies they were right about you the whole time, the devil starts bringing out bigger and bigger giants, more and more archers and sends the storms chasing you.

Sound pretty unbelievable?  Ah, Jesus said “for this cause” He was born into the world.  His cause being to DIE on a cross, not only die but to be tortured, humiliated, and rejected, his gauntlet beginning with his forty days in the wilderness, which HE MADE IT THROUGH HIS FORTY DAYS, he remained completely spotless and sinless and us being human CAN never achieve that, BUT we are to strive and stay on that course.

Now add in just the reality of living, grief, sorrow, heartache, because it rains on the just and the unjust, EVERYONE WILL RUN THE GAUNTLET.

But those with Christ have an expected end to this course.

This is the reason we are commanded to NOT look to the right or to the left, and NEVER EVER LOOK BACK, only forward, if we don’t look to either side we can’t lose focus worrying about what is getting ready to hit us and WE ARE COMMANDED more than once to not look back, if you do you will see what is gaining on you and you will stumble over those blocks that has been placed before you.

Your entire reason for living is to bring glory to the Father and to help as many as you can run the gauntlet that has been set before them by the god of this world  (2nd Corinthians  4:4).

Paul was very apt in describing his gauntlet and we often feel that our burdens are heavy but I know for me, I gain so much encouragement from reading what they suffered and being blessed to read the end of their stories and how God used all those things to enlarge the Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30 ” Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one (they thought it merciful to give 39 lashes as opposed to the 40 you were sentenced to, so at the time he wrote this Paul HAD RECEIVED A TOTAL OF 195 lashes) . 

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; journeys often, in perils of waters, IN PERILS BY THE BRETHREN, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, IN PERILS AMONG FALSE BRETHREN ( notice both groups listed, the ones who ARE your brethren that set those stumbling blocks and the FALSE brethren sent by the enemy). 

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger, in thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

BESIDES THOSE THINGS (other things) WHICH COME UPON ME DAILY, the care of all the churches.

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended (MADE TO STUMBLE), and I burn ( BURN WITH INDIGNATION) not?

IF I must needs glory, I WILL GLORY OF THE THINGS WHICH CONCERN MINE INFIRMITIES.”

 What he was saying if he survived all these things and yet glorified God in all them through showing love to others, how could ANYONE complain of their own sufferings?

He learned the groove of the gauntlet,  he learned to accept it for what it is and go with it.    

 He knew that is had to be ran, to fight it just held him up and there was people whose lives would be changed, there were others to help.

His purpose was NOT to fight in retaliation those who manned his gauntlet but to show the love listed above, to grab onto those who had fallen or were wounded by fiery darts and pull them with him to the finish line.

Acts 16 tells us of the arrest of Paul and Silas for doing just that, praying for a possessed girl to be delivered, this enraging those who were using her possession to make money through fortune telling, they were beaten and thrown in prison.

Paul had learned to be content in ALL situations and learned to REJOICE in affliction because the more he suffered for the Gospel, the GREATER the POWER OF GOD rested upon him, so with excruciating lash wounds on their backs they STILL sang and praised God, this pleasing God who sent an earthquake and opened every cell, now they could have left, completely free and thought “Ha, Ha the jerks get what they deserve for beating us.”  

BUT when Paul saw that the jailer was going to commit suicide because they had all escaped, Paul called to him NOT TO harm himself that they were all there.

That is that love and the jailer and his entire family was saved because Paul knew how to play the gauntlet and HE DID EXACTLY what GOD WANTED HIM TOO.

Just as Jesus “who for the joy SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, and is sat down at the right hand of the Father.”

Those of Hebrews 11, who should give anyone hope and courage to press on.

Learn to groove that gauntlet, play it smoother than any jazz tune ever played.

The prize we seek is NOT in this world.

It is in the next and the true secret is what they knew, press on, press on, press on.

Pick yourself up, let the tears fly as you run, but RUN, RUN with everything you got and grab on to all you see who have fallen in their own race against the gauntlet, pull them, drag them whatever you have to do to help them to that finish line, but never ever look at those opposing you just look to the Author and Finisher of your faith.

He made it through His forty days and Forty nights and then He ran that gauntlet that hell itself had prepared and he died running it BUT HE ROSE and FOREVER SHALL REIGN!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015 

Original post date 12/04/15 revisited 07/01/2020 As you go through your day and your week, please remember that this world and the troubles of this world are temporary, just as our first verse assures us and in these awful days in which we live set yourself with one purpose and one goal and that goal is this, a reminder of what Jesus told us,NEVER LET THEM STEAL YOUR CROWN.

Justifying the end…

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12 

Old, old saying that we are all probably quite familiar with…”The end justify the means.” And we all know that this pretty much is saying that when you have a purpose or achieved goal that nothing, nothing is off limits or out of bounds in achieving that desired end result.

That mentality is quite common in the world and even encouraged and it can be a task for new converts or even old seat warmers to remember when fighting the temptation to steer away from the Word of God and choose “other alternatives” when achieving what they feel is something that must take place or the end result of a situation that they have been faced with and it is very easy to be swayed into believing that whatever it takes God will be okay with because he loves us but when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven that God has commanded that his people “come out and be separate” and the false doctrine doctrine teaching of that anything and everything is okay with God is an absolute lie.

The world may have changed but God’s standards have not nor will they ever and what He said 2000 years ago is just as true today.

God means what He says and says what He means.

When God saves us, cleanses us and delivers us we are so new, so alive, so clean and there is nothing like the initial feeling of having the sins of a lifetime washed away and being made new  in Christ, but again that is initially.

And as Scripture also teaches us we are babes in Christ, but the time comes for those babes to grow and just as we grow in the natural, growing spiritually involves many ups and downs and the growing process can be at times very painful.

We do not learn to trust God unless we are faced with a situation that seems so hopeless and helpless that our only option is that we must trust God.

We do not learn to walk in faith unless we are suddenly met with a darkened path that can only be walked by faith.

And we will never ever develop the kind of patience that Jesus referred to when he told us that in it we will possess our souls, unless that patience is tried.

Our souls can never understand true peace unless until we have understood true exhaustion.

These are Christian growing pains, because we must grow in Christ and that is a process, day by day, year by year, we grow in Christ and as we grow and the time comes, just a baby bird must learn how to stand up in his nest before he will ever take flight.

We as Christians are allowed to learn “to stand” just as we grow from babies to toddler and before we can ever walk must less run we have to learn how to stand. 

I have noticed more in the recent years than ever, is by convincing Christians that somehow we can still hold fast to the beleif that the end will justify the means.

And that is not saying God leaves us, he never ever leaves us and he is always there to help us and as we start swaying, stumbling, almost falling as we try to stand He is the father who gently takes our hands and steady’s us again.

And this is the place where so many stumble and take hold of the wrong hand and often during these times rather than knowing  that God is there is can be easier to allow the enemy to convince us that if we are to stand we will need to do whatever it takes to stand on our own.

That is NOT God’s idea on how we are to handle anything.

Often through our upbringing and society we can easily fall back into the old mindset and completely forget the truth that we once knew and soon enough struggles will come and then we must decide are we going to revert back to the old way of thinking, listening to the wrong voices of handling life or do we take God at His word.

The best description of this growing process, it’s purpose, and the ease of not quite grasping it can be found in 2 Peter 1:2-9: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through (in) the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to (by) glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature HAVING ESCAPED the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to you faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

And to knowledge temperance (self-control); and temperance patience (perseverance); and to patience godliness;

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (love). 

For if these things be in you (are yours) and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off (is short sighted), and hath FORGOTTEN that he was purged (cleansed) from his old sins.”

So you can see this for the process that it is and it is a process, little by little, step by step as God transforms us(as scripture says, by the renewing of our MINDS) to become the en and women he created us to be in Him.

And we must have these attributes. But we are human, we will stumble, we will struggle but again if we accept the fact that this IS part of that process and quit believing the lies of the enemy that tell us that if we were were really “where we should be…” that is the biggest lie of all, we re never where we should be or otherwise we’d be out of here!

This is the same issue that Jesus had with the Pharisees and all the “perfect” people that ostracized those he came to save and he hate it!

And we are often harder on ourselves than the enemy or others could ever be and we have to stop this and accept, really accept Jesus, his forgiveness and get on with our work for the Kingdom while we still have time to work.

Once those doors are shut is is over, once our lives are completed there will be no second chances to come back to earth and complete the job he had given us to do. Remember those treasures you are storing up, remember those crowns that you will be given to lay at the feet of the King?

But above all remember those whose lives you WILL NOT touch and remember the difference that you DID NOT make.

And as harsh as that may sound, it is a very good incentive to us when we think outside of the box of our own head and look at the bigger picture which is why Peter tells us so clearly that we need these attributes, and note that he does not at anytime lay down a number of days, months, years that we should achieve any of these attributes or the total culmination of them all because there is no time frame.

Just that we are to build upon these and we acquire them through the need and dependence upon them to finally reach our true goal- the true “end justification” which is LOVE, love as Christ wants us to love.

It is a process, because even though you may have faith but if you do not have self control what could happen with that faith?

Maybe you have brotherly kindness and can be helpful to those in need and maybe your heart goes out to them and you are lead in someway to reach out to them and perform some sort of act of service but you lack diligence, your heart may reach out but you will not be able to complete the task, without diligence we see nothing through.

And he tells us at the end that IF we lack these things we are SHORT SIGHTED, we cannot see far off. meaning we can not see the end, the ETERNAL outcome and it is then that we are tempted into playing the game of “The end justifies the means” because we are searching for that quick fix.

Another set back to modernism of the church, we can not lie, or avoid the truth or pretend to like those who our hearts are filed with unresolved hurt against, we can not do any of these things out of any agenda because it is still sin and using it as a ‘”Means to an end” is also a sin.

Again part of that growing process, but as we grow in Christ and we CHOOSE to follow a plan that is at the very least questionable in comparison to the Word of God on handling that subject and while that little voice inside is telling us this is not quite right and we reason within ourselves that it is not that big of a deal and reassure ourselves with our own reasoning… it is sin.

Honesty, whether that honesty seems good or bad to others, God requires honesty, and as James 4:17 states “Therefore to him that KNOWETH to do good and doeth it not, to him it IS sin.”

We are not bound by what we do not know,and if we do not understand the things that we should not do and do them, God will let us know in our hearts or by a word of exhortation that we should not do those things, He will ensure we get the message, because He loves us, and that love is unconditional and He wants us to have the life of peace and joy,a life that was purchased by him for us, a life that was paid for in his agony, his blood and his life and when we choose our own path we are devaluing his sacrifice.

If we are to be part of the outpouring of the last days, which we know that we are in, and we truly want to see his Kingdom come we have to get these “little foxes” under control and out of our lives. We all struggle, we all have questions about our identity from time to time, that it normal and God promises are so pure and so perfect, we are PROMISED that he will never leave us, no one loves us like Jesus and no one ever will!

He wants us to succeed and if that means picking us up and dusting us off and giving us a hug every fifteen minutes we are on this earth HE WILL.

He is gentle, kind, and merciful beyond human comprehension and he does not expect us to be anything other than who he created us to be and to keep his commandments, love and honor him and do the best that we personally are capable of doing. 

But in that we also must be willing to choose the correct path and the correct response to the things that life throws our way, it is often said concerning parenting to “choose your battles wisely” and I do believe many fights in battles that were never theirs for the fighting, such as staying in situations out of pride, not wanting to be the “one who gave in” when it would be more wise to walk away

Remember that God wants us to come to him with all that weighs you down, he wants you to bring to him every problem that you can’t solve because in truth we can’t solve anything and we often make things much worse and God will come to our rescue when we ask but often we are left with damages that we should have never had to incur.

Know this, that if you have to pray one hundred times a day that God hears every single pray and he honors humility and truth and when we say God I can’t…. that is exactly when he will let you know that even so, HE CAN and he is not interested in what you can do for yourself he is interested in you trusting him. 

Verses to remember:

1 Corinthians 10:13: “There hath NO temptation taken you but such is COMMON to man; But GOD IS FAITHFUL, who will NEVER suffer (permit) you to be tempted (tested) above that which ye are able;  but will with the temptation ALSO make a way to escape, that ye might be able to bear it.”

It comes to everyone and God will NEVER allow it to destroy you IF you take his way out. But if you choose to follow your own path, you can not blame God because God gives us FREE WILL, the choice is ours.

Romans 6:14: “For sin SHALL NOT ave dominion (rule) over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Plead the blood, plead the blood!

Revelation 12:11: “And they OVERCAME him (the enemy) BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, and by the word of their testimony; and that they loved not their lives unto death.”

To wrap up, we must be our guard, sometimes that path will seem  right but it can lead to the ways of death, spiritually speaking, a little this or a little that, “this one time” is only minute in our reasoning and sin leads to more sins, that is why our beginning verse starts singular, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” and becomes plural. 

That WAY leads to those WAYS.

So stay on guard and never con yourself or letting anyone else con you into believing that we will ever justify our own on way, only God can justify us and games… God does not play!

Thanks for reading!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020 Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

“Raised by wolves”

“And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers (had died) and there AROSE ANOTHER GENERATION after them, which KNEW NOT THE LORD, NOR YET THE WORK WHICH HE HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL.

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and FOLLOWED other gods, of the gods OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE ROUND ABOUT THEM, and bowed themselves unto them, and PROVOKED THE LORD TO ANGER.

AND THEY FORSOOK THE LORD, AND SERVED Baal and Ashtaroth (pagan Canaanite “deities”demons).” Judges 2:8-13

About my title… I actually like wolves, the furry animal ones and believe in supporting conservation of their habitats and their protection, so this is going to be about those OTHER wolves.

The spiritual ones and we all know that they are among us and they do try to fit in and fake you out as to their true identity but those are just one type of wolf, I want to talk to you about another.

Just plain old run of the mill wolves, ones who are just naturally exactly what they are. Never been saved, never even thought about it, just spend their lives doing whatever they want, whenever they want and usually not much of it is good.

Wolves run in packs, but they always have a leader,or leader ‘couple”, not always by being the strongest, but by taking care of the needs of the pack, knowing what the pack needs and making it happen and sometimes they will take in young pups to raise as their own and make them a member of the pack.

I am quite afraid this is the major problem so many Christians have in staying the course for Christ. If you had been “raised” up in the world by parents or a parent that did NOT serve God or teach you anything about God or exposed you to false religions, and you had grown up in  a home with drinking, partying, and all the things that come with that, while maybe socially acceptable, maybe even holding to some value system, still in no way has prepared you to live a life with behavior fitted according to the standard of God.

Kinda like, the old phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” more less, do as your parents, your friends, do as you have been taught. What about those little pups that are adopted into the pack?

Same deal, we respond as we have been taught. I do know that some things God just places in us at birth, that deep intuition knowing right from wrong and that little tugging that sets off the alarm that even when a wolf says something that is happening is okay, you know, by that feeling in your stomach that it really isn’t.

The Lord instills that in us that no matter where life takes us that we will long for more, we will know there is more than just this life, and we will one day break away from the pack and seek that which we have never known and have never been taught because one day we realize that just because the pack takes us in and raised us as their own, still DOES NOT MAKE US A WOLF.

Often when you announce your salvation people will seem genuinely happy for you and they will even congratulate you, encourage you, and wolves especially will sometimes confess they “probably need to get saved too” and this all seems good.

 BUT if you have been “raised by wolves” I promise you all they are doing is marking off your new territory as their new hunting ground and they will soon want you to get you back running with the pack.

And I have seen this far to many times, someone will get saved and soon  the old friends show up along with the old habits, and the old ways after God has delivered them from that bondage because you can’t be a lamb and run with wolves!

People end up back on drugs, back out in sin because they refuse to “lose their life” in order to find it and listen to the wrong people.

Matthew 16:24-26: ” Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

I understand this somewhat referred to the deaths of his followers BUT  I also believe He was also referring to the loss of our lifestyles, friends, and anything we have surrendered at the cross in order to serve Him. Denying ourselves is denying the will of the flesh and the desire to return to the behaviors and sin we were freed from.

2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE (creation) : OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.”

ALL NEW! Doesn’t get any better than that, every sin, every failure, every mistake covered by the blood and washed away FOREVER! And we’ve got to keep it that way!

You know the best defense against a wolf? STAND YOUR GROUND they want you running when they attack, so you have to stand your ground and they will back down and back off and you can’t let them keep hanging around.

Here’s the WORD on it, to go back to our starter verse, Judges chapter one deals with how the tribes were told to destroy the inhabitants out of the lands God had given them and the fact that many did not destroy them but rather kept company with them and they were soon visited by an angel of the Lord to be reminded of WHAT they had been told. 

Judges 2:1-4: “And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said , I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I SAID I WILL NEVER BREAK MY COVENANT WITH YOU,

AND YE SHALL MAKE NO LEAGUE (treaty) WITH THE INHABITANTS OF THIS LAND; YE SHALL THROW DOWN THEIR ALTARS: BUT YE HAVE NOT OBEYED MY VOICE: WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS?

WHEREFORE I ALSO SAID, I WILL NOT DRIVE THEM OUT FROM BEFORE YOU: BUT THEY SHALL BE AS THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, AND THEIR GODS SHALL BE A SNARE UNTO YOU.” 

Never heard it? Well, we have now, if we do not throw down those spiritual altars, you know all the things that have been more important than God, all the spiritual altars where God-given virtues have been sacrificed for the pleasures of this world. And have no relations with the “inhabitants” of the land of your past, because the will be allowed to become a thorn in your flesh and their “gods” of drugs, sex, and money will become a trap to you. So watch out for those wolves, they are real, and they are devious, never trust them, don’t listen when they start to howl and don’t back down when they growl, stand your ground and they will quit coming around!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

**I apologize for the repost but I am experiencing BSOD on desktop so bear with me and God bless your week!

 

“Raised by wolves”

“And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers (had died) and there AROSE ANOTHER GENERATION after them, which KNEW NOT THE LORD, NOR YET THE WORK WHICH HE HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL.

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and FOLLOWED other gods, of the gods OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE ROUND ABOUT THEM, and bowed themselves unto them, and PROVOKED THE LORD TO ANGER.

AND THEY FORSOOK THE LORD, AND SERVED Baal and Ashtaroth (pagan Canaanite “deities”demons).” Judges 2:8-13

About my title… I actually like wolves, the furry animal ones and believe in supporting conservation of their habitats and their protection, so this is going to be about those OTHER wolves.

The spiritual ones and we all know that they are among us and they do try to fit in and fake you out as to their true identity but those are just one type of wolf, I want to talk to you about another.

Just plain old run of the mill wolves, ones who are just naturally exactly what they are. Never been saved, never even thought about it, just spend their lives doing whatever they want, whenever they want and usually not much of it is good.

Wolves run in packs, but they always have a leader,or leader ‘couple”, not always by being the strongest, but by taking care of the needs of the pack, knowing what the pack needs and making it happen and sometimes they will take in young pups to raise as their own and make them a member of the pack.

I am quite afraid this is the major problem so many Christians have in staying the course for Christ. If you had been “raised” up in the world by parents or a parent that did NOT serve God or teach you anything about God or exposed you to false religions, and you had grown up in  a home with drinking, partying, and all the things that come with that, while maybe socially acceptable, maybe even holding to some value system, still in no way has prepared you to live a life with behavior fitted according to the standard of God.

Kinda like, the old phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” more less, do as your parents, your friends, do as you have been taught. What about those little pups that are adopted into the pack?

Same deal, we respond as we have been taught. I do know that some things God just places in us at birth, that deep intuition knowing right from wrong and that little tugging that sets off the alarm that even when a wolf says something that is happening is okay, you know, by that feeling in your stomach that it really isn’t.

The Lord instills that in us that no matter where life takes us that we will long for more, we will know there is more than just this life, and we will one day break away from the pack and seek that which we have never known and have never been taught because one day we realize that just because the pack takes us in and raised us as their own, still DOES NOT MAKE US A WOLF.

Often when you announce your salvation people will seem genuinely happy for you and they will even congratulate you, encourage you, and wolves especially will sometimes confess they “probably need to get saved too” and this all seems good.

 BUT if you have been “raised by wolves” I promise you all they are doing is marking off your new territory as their new hunting ground and they will soon want you to get you back running with the pack.

And I have seen this far to many times, someone will get saved and soon  the old friends show up along with the old habits, and the old ways after God has delivered them from that bondage because you can’t be a lamb and run with wolves!

People end up back on drugs, back out in sin because they refuse to “lose their life” in order to find it and listen to the wrong people.

Matthew 16:24-26: ” Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

I understand this somewhat referred to the deaths of his followers BUT  I also believe He was also referring to the loss of our lifestyles, friends, and anything we have surrendered at the cross in order to serve Him. Denying ourselves is denying the will of the flesh and the desire to return to the behaviors and sin we were freed from.

2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE (creation) : OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.”

ALL NEW! Doesn’t get any better than that, every sin, every failure, every mistake covered by the blood and washed away FOREVER! And we’ve got to keep it that way!

You know the best defense against a wolf? STAND YOUR GROUND they want you running when they attack, so you have to stand your ground and they will back down and back off and you can’t let them keep hanging around.

Here’s the WORD on it, to go back to our starter verse, Judges chapter one deals with how the tribes were told to destroy the inhabitants out of the lands God had given them and the fact that many did not destroy them but rather kept company with them and they were soon visited by an angel of the Lord to be reminded of WHAT they had been told. 

Judges 2:1-4: “And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said , I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I SAID I WILL NEVER BREAK MY COVENANT WITH YOU,

AND YE SHALL MAKE NO LEAGUE (treaty) WITH THE INHABITANTS OF THIS LAND; YE SHALL THROW DOWN THEIR ALTARS: BUT YE HAVE NOT OBEYED MY VOICE: WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS?

WHEREFORE I ALSO SAID, I WILL NOT DRIVE THEM OUT FROM BEFORE YOU: BUT THEY SHALL BE AS THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, AND THEIR GODS SHALL BE A SNARE UNTO YOU.” 

Never heard it? Well, we have now, if we do not throw down those spiritual altars, you know all the things that have been more important than God, all the spiritual altars where God-given virtues have been sacrificed for the pleasures of this world. And have no relations with the “inhabitants” of the land of your past, because the will be allowed to become a thorn in your flesh and their “gods” of drugs, sex, and money will become a trap to you. So watch out for those wolves, they are real, and they are devious, never trust them, don’t listen when they start to howl and don’t back down when they growl, stand your ground and they will quit coming around!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

**I apologize for the repost but I am experiencing BSOD on desktop so bear with me and God bless your week!

 

End of the season….

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

Being forty days tempted of (tested by) the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he afterward hungered (was hungry).

And the devil said unto him, IF thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him saying, It is written, THAT MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD.

And the devil taking him up into a high mountain, shewed unto him the all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power (authority) I will give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. IF thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me Satan: for it is written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE.

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, IF thou be the Son of God, cats thyself down from hence (here): For it is written, HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER THEE, TO KEEP THEE: AND IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR THEE UP, LEST AT ANY TIME THOU DASH THY FOOT AGAINST A STONE. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is SAID, THOU SHALT NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD. And when the devil had ended all the temptation (testing) HE DEPARTED FOR HIM, FOR A SEASON (until an OPPORTUNE TIME).” LUKE 4:1-13

We sometimes are too easily convinced that NO ONE endures the same freaky, bizarre battles that we suffer and allow the enemy and ourselves into pushing us right off the boat because we believe the lie that if we were “right” these things would not be happening. If you are going through something similar today, be encouraged, we are never alone.

So in our story, this is not JUST any one that is going through this! It is our Lord, our Savior, the beauty is that as we all know, or should know NO HUMAN can fight the devil. Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost and then LED by the Spirit to go into that wilderness, He could not take a buddy, He could not decline the offer, He had to go this one completely alone.

Of course having all power in heaven and earth HE COULD HAVE did anything He wanted but to be the example to us, this is what He did and as He walked that wilderness, alone, fasting, praying and BEING TESTED BY THE DEVIL FOR FORTY DAYS!  

We fight the most heated parts of our battles when we are physically the most weak, and sometimes the most emotionally drained, the enemy is not going to hit you the moment you come from a house shaking revival, full of fire, and new oil, he is a lot of things but unintelligent is  NOT one of those things. 

First he attacked Jesus’ identity, his first move is ALWAYS to try to get us to doubt or question our Identity in God, and there’s some symbolism in that, I think in the bread also that we can sometimes be weak, weary, and lured into accepting the wrong thoughts and doctrines as “food”  during the times of famishing, but Jesus just quickly came back with the word, that hunger is nothing, but the true bread of life, the word of God is the only truly satisfying meal.

The devil then tries to make Him an offer, all the POWER, all the Kingdoms, ALL he could ever desire, IF, he would worship him. Pretty hilarious right there, trying to “buy a man with his own money” and we know to not sell out your eternal riches for “A MOMENT IN TIME” as the devil tries to sell it.

Again Jesus cut him with that sword of the spirit, telling him to his face that HE KNEW who he was dealing with. Sometimes you just have to let the devil know that you are not playing his game, call it for what it is and don’t let him bluff you.

And then he makes ONE MORE ATTEMPT to try to get Jesus “to prove” Himself, He USES scripture. Ever had anyone twist scripture as an argument back to your Biblical reasoning against an argument they have against you or something the enemy is trying to test you with? You know, that in my thinking is really deadly territory, and I love this part, Jesus no longer stating “it is written” instead He used “IT IS SAID” because not only was it written but God had spoken it and was indeed speaking it AGAIN and there is nothing quite like that, when you think it in context of parent to child … I SAID… carries all the weight needed and the devil knew he was absolutely busted. 

There is no power in heaven or earth, nor will there ever be that has precedence over what He has spoken. And with that the devil fled.. but only for a season.

Some things do just keep coming, all those who came against Him during His ministry, but think of all that came to Him for salvation. We do go through battles in this world that relief is only for a season, and there is always going to be struggles we may never understand here but God uses all things we suffer through as an opportunity to shine His light on our lives and we can often look back after a trail and see what He has allowed to grow and be nurtured in us during those moments and in the end, even though some have went through terrible ordeals, probably not one of us would go back and change a thing IF changing it would have altered the outcome of bringing us to the Lord. We know satan thought he waged the final battle against Jesus at the cross, he thought in this opportune season, that he had won it all only to have Christ overcome death, hell and resurrect victoriously forever and ever.

We have to have those enemies to have that table prepared for us in their presence. If we were never crushed in spirit, how could He draw nigh? If we never shed a tear how could He wipe them away?

Maybe life would be all happy-go-lucky but we would not necessarily know the redemptive power of Jesus and we would not have that promise of eternal life, we would not need it if this one was so fabulous, without the need for hope, we would be most hopeless.

We know also in the following passage after our verses that “Jesus returned in the power of the spirit…” So I want to leave you with His word, when you feel like the enemy is dragging you under, quote this: HE SAID …

“My sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I GIVE unto them eternal life: and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck (snatch) them out of my hand.

MY FATHER which gave them me, IS GREATER THAN ALL; and NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND. I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE.” JOHN 10:27-30

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω  NBJ 2016

Groovin’ the Gauntlet

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Romans 8:18

The Gauntlet, the reality of the answer of the age old question, what is the meaning of life. That is the answer, not quite what you would think is it?

We are all souls with God, who is eternal, no beginning, no ending, self -existing and ever existent  until we are born to this earth.

As God told Jeremiah, first chapter- fifth verse: “BEFORE I formed thee in the BELLY, I KNEW THEE; and BEFORE thou camest forth out of the womb I SANCTIFIED (set apart) THEE, AND I ORDAINED (appointed)THEE A PROPHET UNTO NATIONS.

As with the names that were written BEFORE the earth was formed. Our souls just as they are eternal, were with Him until time for whatever the reason, to be born onto the gauntlet field of this world.

1st Ephesians 1:4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE the FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

So we are born, hit the ground and IT IS ON.

 The gauntlet is formed against us BEFORE we can even hit the ground running, because the enemy knows more about you than you do!

The gauntlet of the “tares”, the weeds the devil planted among the children, on one side and facing you on the other side the demonic forces of hell, so you start your run between the tongue wagging finger pointers running themselves, trying to set those stumbling blocks before you, every imaginable scheme will be hatched for their use as a weapon against you, just trying to knock you down with everything they’ve got.

So you are running as fast as you can trying to keep one eye on the course in front of you and one eye on the weapons coming after you but then you see on the other side of your course the demonic forces armed and ready with snares and traps set every step of the way and many, many archers with their bows poised and the fiery darts ready to rain down, the farther you make it the more they are gonna hit from both sides, the “holier than thous” just dying to see you fall so they can tell all their buddies they were right about you the whole time, the devil starts bringing out bigger and bigger giants, more and more archers and sends the storms chasing you.

Sound pretty unbelievable?  Ah, Jesus said “for this cause” He was born into the world.  His cause being to DIE on a cross, not only die but to be tortured, humiliated, and rejected, his gauntlet beginning with his forty days in the wilderness, which HE MADE IT THROUGH HIS FORTY DAYS, he remained completely spotless and sinless and us being human CAN never achieve that, BUT we are to strive and stay on that course.

Now add in just the reality of living, grief, sorrow, heartache, because it rains on the just and the unjust, EVERYONE WILL RUN THE GAUNTLET.

But those with Christ have an expected end to this course.

This is the reason we are commanded to NOT look to the right or to the left, and NEVER EVER LOOK BACK, only forward, if we don’t look to either side we can’t lose focus worrying about what is getting ready to hit us and WE ARE COMMANDED more than once to not look back, if you do you will see what is gaining on you and you will stumble over those blocks that has been placed before you.

Your entire reason for living is to bring glory to the Father and to help as many as you can run the gauntlet that has been set before them by the god of this world  (2nd Corinthians  4:4).

Paul was very apt in describing his gauntlet and we often feel that our burdens are heavy but I know for me, I gain so much encouragement from reading what they suffered and being blessed to read the end of their stories and how God used all those things to enlarge the Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30 ” Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one (they thought it merciful to give 39 lashes as opposed to the 40 you were sentenced to, so at the time he wrote this Paul HAD RECEIVED A TOTAL OF 195 lashes) . 

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; journeys often, in perils of waters, IN PERILS BY THE BRETHREN, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, IN PERILS AMONG FALSE BRETHREN ( notice both groups listed, the ones who ARE your brethren that set those stumbling blocks and the FALSE brethren sent by the enemy). 

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger, in thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

BESIDES THOSE THINGS (other things) WHICH COME UPON ME DAILY, the care of all the churches.

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended (MADE TO STUMBLE), and I burn ( BURN WITH INDIGNATION) not?

IF I must needs glory, I WILL GLORY OF THE THINGS WHICH CONCERN MINE INFIRMITIES.”

 What he was saying if he survived all these things and yet glorified God in all them through showing love to others, how could ANYONE complain of their own sufferings?

He learned the groove of the gauntlet,  he learned to accept it for what it is and go with it.    

 He knew that is had to be ran, to fight it just held him up and there was people whose lives would be changed, there were others to help.

His purpose was NOT to fight in retaliation those who manned his gauntlet but to show the love listed above, to grab onto those who had fallen or were wounded by fiery darts and pull them with him to the finish line.

Acts 16 tells us of the arrest of Paul and Silas for doing just that, praying for a possessed girl to be delivered, this enraging those who were using her possession to make money through fortune telling, they were beaten and thrown in prison.

Paul had learned to be content in ALL situations and learned to REJOICE in affliction because the more he suffered for the Gospel, the GREATER the POWER OF GOD rested upon him, so with excruciating lash wounds on their backs they STILL sang and praised God, this pleasing God who sent an earthquake and opened every cell, now they could have left, completely free and thought “Ha, Ha the jerks get what they deserve for beating us.”  

BUT when Paul saw that the jailer was going to commit suicide because they had all escaped, Paul called to him NOT TO harm himself that they were all there.

That is that love and the jailer and his entire family was saved because Paul knew how to play the gauntlet and HE DID EXACTLY what GOD WANTED HIM TOO.

Just as Jesus “who for the joy SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, and is sat down at the right hand of the Father.”

Those of Hebrews 11, who should give anyone hope and courage to press on.

Learn to groove that gauntlet, play it smoother than any jazz tune ever played.

The prize we seek is NOT in this world.

It is in the next and the true secret is what they knew, press on, press on, press on.

Pick yourself up, let the tears fly as you run, but RUN, RUN with everything you got and grab on to all you see who have fallen in their own race against the gauntlet, pull them, drag them whatever you have to do to help them to that finish line, but never ever look at those opposing you just look to the Author and Finisher of your faith.

He made it through His forty days and Forty nights and then He ran that gauntlet that hell itself had prepared and he died running it BUT HE ROSE and FOREVER SHALL REIGN!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015 

Original post date 12/04/15 revisited 07/01/2020 As you go through your day and your week, please remember that this world and the troubles of this world are temporary, just as our first verse assures us and in these awful days in which we live set yourself with one purpose and one goal and that goal is this, a reminder of what Jesus told us,NEVER LET THEM STEAL YOUR CROWN.

OLD GOAT AND THE CANDY COATS/ PART1

One of our most beloved historical events in American history is the ride of Paul Revere, as he proclaimed “The British are coming! The British are coming!”

I kinda got this in my head as I pondered my lead in for this blog, I feel like Chicken Little sometimes too. 

Are they ever going to believe me that the sky really is falling?

But as a messenger of the Lord, I haven’t the option of being a chicken, so I’ll go with Revere, only I am kinda short so I’d have to ride a Shetland Pony, but it’s all gonna end the same!

My proclamation would be, “The candy coats are coming! The candy coats are coming! Then half way through I’d dismount my trusty steed, because THE CANDY COATS ARE ALREADY HERE AND NO ONE EVEN TRIED TO RESIST THEIR INVASION!

2 Timothy 2:1-7: “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous (money lovers), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, slanders (without self-control), fierce (brutal) despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady(reckless) high minded (haughty and proud) lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof; FROM SUCH TURN AWAY.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and  lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, EVER LEARNING, AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.”
                                    
Sound familiar? Pretty accurate description of the condition of the present world. They are the false teachers, false prophets who “preach” to ears that do not want to hear the truth, ears that want to be reassured that there is no eternal punishment for sin and that Jesus is gooey love and just begs to be worshiped with no prerequisite  for entering his presence.

No, He is Holy, we worship him, he does not worship us! We were created for his pleasure, he doesn’t exist for our pleasure!
They refuse to mention Hell, it must be called Hades, because we can’t scare people, well, HELL, HELL, HELL, not saying it is not keeping people from going there every day!

I love people, I do not bash “sinners” we were all sinners, but if you do not tell people the truth, how are they being helped?

And using the old routine to invite them into church and love on them and it will eventually rub off is a joke!
We are saved by conviction through the Holy Spirit revealing to us what miserable, wretched creatures we are.

The “rub off” theory only gives people a false sense of security that they are eternally safe. That is not true, one of the greatest old sayings is this, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

Satan is using the very ones that were supposed to lead them to the Lord to instead lead them straight into hell.
As I’ve said before I know where I came from and I thank God for the people he put in my life that really did love me enough to tell me the truth!
So we can’t mention sin, we can’t mention hell but we can sure mention offerings and church events and preaching to X number of people. Gonna look great with your doctorate degree but don’t think it’ll win you a crown.
As Jesus said, they are the children of their father, the Devil.

Jude 3-8,10,13: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and EXHORT YOU THAT YOU SHOULD CONTEND (FIGHT) FOR THE FAITH THAT WAS ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS, FOR THERE ARE CERTAIN MEN CREPT IN UNAWARES (UNNOTICED) WHO WERE BEFORE OF OLD ORDAINED TO THIS CONDEMNATION,UNGODLY MEN, TURNING THE GRACE OF OUR GOD INTO LASCIVIOUSNESS (MORALLY UNRESTRAINED) AND DENYING THE ONLY LORD GOD, AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, HAVING SAVED THE PEOPLE OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, AFTERWARD DESTROYED THEM THAT BELIEVED NOT.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, HE HATH RESERVED IN EVERLASTING CHAINS UNDER DARKNESS UNTO THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY.

EVEN AS SODOM AND GOMORRAH, AND THE CITIES ABOUT THEM IN LIKE MANNER, GIVING THEMSELVES OVER TO FORNICATION, AND GOING AFTER STRANGE FLESH, ARE SET FORTH FOR AN EXAMPLE, SUFFERING THE VENGEANCE OF ETERNAL FIRE.

Likewise these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

But they speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally as brute beasts, IN THOSE THINGS THEY CORRUPT THEMSELVES.

Raging waves of the sea, FOAMING OUT OF THEIR OWN SHAME; WANDERING STARS ( When Lucifer was cast out of heaven he took one-third of the angels with him, written as a third of the stars) TO WHOM IS RESERVED THE BLACKNESS OF DARKNESS FOREVER.” 

Now to get a Sister a little back up! It would be one thing to dispute me, but Apostle Paul is a different matter:

“Wherefore I take to you record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 

TAKE HEED therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

FOR I KNOW AFTER MY DEPARTING SHALL GRIEVOUS (SAVAGE) WOLVES ENTER IN AMONG YOU, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK.

ALSO OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE, SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS, TO DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM.

THEREFORE WATCH, AND REMEMBER, THAT BY THE SPACE OF THREE YEARS I CEASED NOT TO WARN EVERY ONE NIGHT AND DAY WITH TEARS.” Acts 20:26-31

Lord’s will, next time we’ll get into a little judgment that the Lord is going to bring down on all these. I guarantee you, it will not be a fruity  flavored dish either, it’ll be more like an extra, extra rare steak, juicy, meaty and really, really bloody.

Part 2: “OLD GOAT AND THE CANDY COATS/ SUGAR DECAY

All rights reserved. Rev. Nina BrownJohnson 2015

AMONG THE THORNS

“As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters” Song of Solomon 2:2
The beautiful spiritual garden of the Lord, filled with every plant and flower to be imagined and the plot he has chosen for you to grow in.

You have been created in the image of God, the enemy knows this and he knows the value of the true beauty which you possess. He despises it, so he plants his briers in your life to rip and shred that image until there is nothing left but bloody, twisted, painful wounds.

Thorns, the gnarled twisted vines that entangle us and who we believe ourselves to be.

Their razor-sharp points piercing our souls, preventing our movement in either direction for fear of their sharp sting. If left to grow they will completely take over our souls.

Proverbs 12:18(a): “There is that (one who) speaketh like the piercings of a sword.” 

We go through some pretty rough stuff in this life but often the real damage to us is not caused by physical sufferings but rather through words.

Words are so powerful, that is why Jesus is referred to as “THE WORD”, He spoke everything into existence and the enemy loves nothing more than to battle you with his own perverted, twisted, destructive words.

As the Bible states, those words stab our hearts, souls and spirit to a greater degree than any dagger ever might, because these cuts go straight to the heart.

“Four Eyes”,

“Dumb”,

“Stupid”,

“Wimp”,

“Fat”,

“Bone rack”,

“Flat chest”,

” Slut”,

“Idiot”,

“Cry Baby”,

“Should have never been born”,

“Never will amount to anything”.

Of course, they are always offered to us with the all too familiar, “YOUR…” which automatically red flags our minds which have been programmed to the values of this world and our social need to conform to default to self-blame.

It hurts just reading them doesn’t it?

These words are so powerful and carry so much force that even not being spewed hatefully at us, they still affect our emotions.

Words piercing our souls, and so many young men and women in our world today have listened to those words and the thorns that accompanied them are now strangling everything a Holy, loving Father has created them to be.

Society has set levels of supposed beauty and social conduct that are both impossible to achieve and disgraceful.
We have all been there at one point or another in life, maybe you are there now and the effects of these words can linger for life.

Self destruct mode takes over when those thorns have convinced us that rather than rid ourselves of them, that we must instead change ourselves to accommodate their presence.

IF we were prettier, more handsome, bigger busted, more muscular, slimmer, sexier, had better skin, whiter teeth, had more friends or could get that perfect date.
Maybe we could fit if… we drank more, tried the cool drugs, give our virtue away to everyone who asked, losing a little of our soul each time, joy, self-esteem and self-worth being strangled out, while depression, guilt and shame moves insidiously and comfortably into their spot.

Achieve one goal and a new one will be set because that score board is rigged and it forever changes to keep the players on the field right where the enemy wants them.

If it is so grand, why do so many celebrities commit suicide and die from drug overdoses?
Their souls have become so covered by thorns even all the money, fame and power can’ take the pain away, they are so miserable inside that they can no longer survive the torment of living.

These thorns manifest themselves in many, many ways the most common alcoholism, drug addictions, pornography and gambling addictions, cutting and eating disorders and host of self-destructive behaviors.

We, as Christians must get our heads out of fairy land and see what is really taking place in the lives of those Christ sent us to minister to and start acknowledging that these problems are very real and offer help to the untold number of teens and adults that suffer alone in silence, fearing that they will be farther ridiculed if their secrets are out.

We have to teach them that is okay to talk about these things and that there is help and most of all there is hope.
The realization has to come that THERE IS NO STANDARD!

We are fearfully and wonderfully  created, completely on purpose by someone who loves and does not make mistakes.

He wants us all to feel beautiful from the inside out and most of that our true value will be found in Him.

That we would understand that true beauty comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and personalities.

Just as roses, daisies and orchids are completely different and yet all equally as stunning.
His love is as the lily, the beautiful precious thing, completely surrounded by those thorns.
His love and His love alone is the only force that can cut all the thorns away and allow us to grow in that beautiful garden, being ourselves, just exactly who he intended us to be.

Hold on to God, give him all your pain and trust him because “HE IS THE ROSE OF SHARON AND THE LILY OF THE VALLEYS” and you are beautiful in Him!
Original Post Date:06/06/2014 

All rights reserved. Nina BrownJohnson/ baresoulphlogizo 2015

Part 1 ASHES

ASHES

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Ashes, sometimes all that is all that is left of what once was your life all that was held precious and dear, all that is left of what once was and most importantly what will be never again. Maybe you feel that way today, maybe you have wounds that are so deep, wounds that are […]